Whether you are self-employed, a small business owner or a large enterprise, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your business, and your employees shouldn’t have to worry about losing their jobs.
On this page, we highlight public and private sector programs and initiatives across Canada that support businesses and their employees.
A listing of the programs and supports available from Finance Canada through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is also available on the Government of Canada’s website.
Please note: new programs are being introduced very rapidly with operational details and clarifications being made daily. Please check back frequently for the latest information.
Direct Financial Support
Video and webinar resources
There is an impressive array of federal, provincial and territorial government programs that offer subsidies, loans and other measures to meet the urgent needs of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professionals from KPMG joined us for a live interactive discussion to help you better understand these programs and how they can help your operations.
Perrin Beatty and Tara Benham from Grant Thornton discuss the financing available to businesses and employees due to COVID-19 as well as impacts the pandemic will have on our economy.
With SMEs providing nearly 90% of all private sector employment in Canada, we know they are being hit the hardest by COVID-19. Susanna Cluff-Clyburne, our Senior Director of Parliamentary Affairs, shares the support measures that are available to SMEs and what the Canadian Chamber is doing to advocate on their behalf.
Are you a non-essential business and wondering what you should be doing during this crisis to get your finances in order? If so, Patrick Gill, our Director of Tax and Financial Policy, has some advice for you.
Perrin Beatty and Min. Mary Ng discuss the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs and what supports are available to help them get through this pandemic.
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
What is it?
- As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease you back into normal operations.
Who is eligible?
- Businesses, charitable or not-for-profit organizations that have experienced at least a 15% decline in revenue in March 2020 and a 30% decline in revenue in April and/or May 2020, when compared to the same month in 2019. For March 2020, businesses may alternatively choose to compare against January/February 2020. Businesses may use either cash or accrual accounting methods in calculations, however not both.
- Public bodies are not eligible for this subsidy.
- The government has a FAQ page available here.
- Infographic: Are You Eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy?
- Infographic: How is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Calculated?
How to apply?
- Applications are available online.
Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
What is it?
- The 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
- The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay from March 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020, up to $1,375 for each eligible employee to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer. Associated CCPCs will not be required to share the maximum subsidy of $25,000 per employer.
Note: The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers is a separate program. For more information on that program, see Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
Who is eligible?
- You are an eligible employer if you:
- are a(n):
- individual (excluding trusts),
- non-profit organization,
- registered charity, or
- Canadian-controlled private corporation (including a cooperative corporation);
- have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020; and
- pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an eligible employee.
An eligible employee is an individual who is employed in Canada.
Partnerships are only eligible for the subsidy if their members consist exclusively of individuals (excluding trusts), registered charities, other partnerships eligible for the subsidy, or eligible Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs).
CCPCs are only eligible for the subsidy if they have a business limit for their last taxation year that ended before March 18, 2020, greater than nil (determined without reference to the passive income business limit reduction). For more information on whether your CCPC would have a business limit, see Small Business Deduction in the T2 Corporation Income Tax Guide.
For more information on whether your corporation is a CCPC, see Type of Corporation.
- are a(n):
How to apply?
- You do not need to apply for the subsidy.
- Employers reduce their payroll remittance of federal, provincial or territorial income tax that they send to the CRA by the amount of the subsidy.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
What is it?
- The Government of Canada is providing businesses with interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help cover operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced due to COVID-19. This will better position companies to quickly return to providing services to their communities and create employment.
Who is eligible?
- This program is for businesses with a total payroll between $20,000 to $1.5 million in 2019.
- Repayment of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).
Expanded eligibility criteria
To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 need:
- a business operating account at a participating financial institution;
- a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return;
- eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
How to apply?
- Apply now through your primary financial institution.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The CERB has now ended.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) ends when you’ve received 28 weeks of benefits or on October 3, 2020, whichever comes first. For those who applied through the Canada Revenue Agency, the last four-week period for the CERB was August 30, 2020 through Septemer 26, 2020. However, you can still apply for the CERB retroactively through Canada Revenue Agency.
On August 20th, 2020 the Government of Canada announced changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program and new recovery benefits that will support Canadians. These recovery benefits are subject to Parliamentary approval.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Over the course of the program, property owners will reduce rent by at least 75% for the months of April, May, June, July, August and September for their small business tenants. CECRA will cover 50% of the rent, with the tenant paying up to 25% and the property owner forgiving at least 25%.
The deadline to submit a new application is September 30, 2020.
The deadline to opt-in is October 30, 2020.
Apply for CECRA for small businesses and/or opt-in for the extensions.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
The government is providing nearly $1 billion in funding to the Regional Development Agencies ($675 million) and the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations ($287 million). SMEs may now apply for support through your local Regional Development Agency:
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
- Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
- Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
- Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor)
- Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
Employment Insurance (EI)
As of September 27, you may be eligible for EI if you:
- were employed for at least 120 insurable hours in the past 52 weeks
- received the CERB, the 52 week period to accumulate insured hours will be extended
- stopped working through no fault of your own
- have not quit your job voluntarily
- are ready, willing and capable of working each day (EI regular benefits)
- are temporarily unable to work while you care for someone else or yourself (EI maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver benefits)
If you are eligible for EI benefits, you will receive a minimum taxable benefit at a rate of $500 per week, or $300 per week for extended parental benefits.
The federal government has announced funding specific to several sectors of the Canadian economy. Detailed information is contained with the “support for sectors” section of the Economic Response Plan, available here.
Additional support for businesses is also available through non-sector specific federal programs or regional development agencies. Use the ‘find financial help during COVID-19’ tool, which guides you towards programs that may help based on your answers to a few short questions. The tool is available for businesses (including non-profits and charities) here.
Support for women entrepreneurs
On May 16, the Government of Canada announced an additional $15 million in funding to the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). The money will go directly to select organizations that are currently WES Ecosystem Fund recipients to help women entrepreneurs through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government of Canada has enhanced its Work-Sharing Program to support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business by expanding the program from 38 to 76 weeks and by streamlining processes to improve access.
Access to Capital
Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
Through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), the new Business Credit Availability Program will increase the credit available to small, medium and large Canadian businesses, providing more than $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support. More information is available here.
Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF)
What is it?
- The LEEFF program is meant to provide bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going. The objective of this support is to help protect Canadian jobs, help Canadian businesses weather the current economic downturn, and avoid bankruptcies of otherwise viable firms where possible.
- This support cannot be used to resolve insolvencies or restructure firms, nor will it provide financing to companies that otherwise have the capacity to manage through the crisis.
Who is eligible?
- The LEEFF program will be open to large for-profit businesses – with the exception of those in the financial sector – as well as certain not-for-profit businesses, such as airports, with annual revenues generally in the order of $300 million or higher.
- To qualify for LEEFF support, eligible businesses must be seeking financing of about $60 million or more, have significant operations or workforce in Canada, and not be involved in active insolvency proceedings.
- Recipients will need to commit to respect collective bargaining agreements and protect workers’ pensions. It will require strict limits to dividends, share buy-backs, and executive pay.
- An assessment may be made of companies’ employment, tax, and economic activity in Canada, as well as its international organizational structure and financing arrangements.
- The program will not be available to companies that have been convicted of tax evasion.
- Recipient companies would be required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports consistent with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.
- Financing is intended to be applicable to all eligible sectors in a consistent manner.
How to apply?
- Applications are available now through the Canada Enterprise Emergency Funding Corporation, here.
Farm Credit Canada COVID-19 Support Program
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) will augment credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector by $5 billion, including a deferral of principal and interest payments up to six months for existing loans or a deferral of principal payments up to 12 months, access to an additional credit line up to $500,000, secured by general security agreements or universal movable hypothec (Québec only). More information is available here.
Energy sector support from the federal government
The federal government has announced $1.7 billion for the cleanup of orphaned oil and gas wells, which includes:
- Up to $1 billion to the Government of Alberta;
- Up to $400 million to the Government of Saskatchewan;
- Up to $120 million to the Government of British Columbia; and
- $200 million to the Alberta Orphan Wells Association (OWA) to support its work to clean up orphan oil and gas wells and well sites across Alberta. The OWA will fully repay this amount.
The federal government has also announced $750 million for Natural Resources Canada over two years, starting in 2020-21, to create a new repayable loan program to work with conventional and offshore oil and gas companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Of this amount, $75 million will be allocated to investments in the offshore sector. A portion of these loans will be convertible to grants.
The federal government is also continuing to work with EDC and BDC to make additional credit solutions available.
Additional funding through regional development agencies, industrial research, and Heritage Canada
To help reach people and businesses who may not be able to receive funding through other programs and financial lenders, the federal government is also allocating an additional:
- $675 million to the Regional Development Agencies;
- $287 million to the Communities Future Network;
- $20.1 million to Futurpreneur Canada;
- $250 million for the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP); and
- $500 million to Heritage Canada for arts, culture, and sport.
Applications for funding may be made directly to those organizations.
Financial relief offered by Canadian banks
Banks will provide financial relief to businesses affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19. Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank will work with personal and small business customers, on a case-by-case basis, to provide flexible solutions to help them manage challenges, such as pay disruption, childcare disruption due to school closures or those facing illness from COVID-19.
Bank of Canada interest rate
The Bank of Canada cut its overnight rate to 0.25% – the interest rate at which major financial institutions borrow and lend one-day (or “overnight”) funds among themselves.
Additional credit resources
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18 and before September 2020, with no interest or penalties applicable during this period.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will defer the filing due date for the 2019 individual tax return to June 1, 2020, and to May 1, 2020 for trusts with a taxation year ending on December 31, 2019.
Payments of tax owing are deferred until after August 31, 2020, with no interest or penalties applicable during this period.
Deferred GST/HST remittance
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will defer the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances to June 30, 2020.
In partnership with Thinking Capital, Ario is sharing data and insights on the industries and regions affected by COVID-19. You can access anonymous sales activity from merchants across Canada and find out how you can support Canada’s small business community here.
COVID-19 has changed business workflows and processes. To help businesses meet these new challenges, BlackBerry has compiled several resources to help your organization navigate the crisis.
BlackBerry Digital Workplace – Equip your workforce with the resources they need to be productive on managed or unmanaged devices, with a robust self-contained platform that’s continuously protected from evolving cyber threats.
SecuSUITE Secure Messaging and Phone Calls – Get high security voice and messaging for iOS and Android devices.
BlackBerry AtHoc – Quickly enables your organization to communicate with stakeholders and keep track of what matters most: the safety and well-being of your staff, friends and community.
BlackBerry Cylance – Keep your organization ahead of threat actors with AI-driven security tools that provide best-in-class detection, prevention, and response capabilities.
Securely Working from Home – Empower your employees to work remotely using their own devices, safely and securely.
To assist transitioning employees to work-from-home routines securely, BlackBerry is currently offering a range of its secure communication solutions for enterprises – free for a 60-day period. Please inquire at [email protected].
Think Small Program
As part of Canada Post’s Think Small support program, you can now benefit from a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to promote your business to your local community.
If you have a promotion you’d like to share, or if you just want to remind your neighbours that you’re open for business and ready to serve them, Canada Post is offering discounts to help.
Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)
From April 1 – September 30, 2020, CIRA is making its malware and phishing cybersecurity service free to SMEs of 100 employees or less.
Members of the Canadian Chamber also get a 20% discount on their annual subscription to CIRA’s online cybersecurity training platform. Click here to learn more.
What does good corporate governance look like during and post COVID-19? The Competent Boards Certificate Program is an opportunity to have discussions with global leaders on how to overcome the COVID-19 crisis while learning the ABCs of ESG. The crisis has shown that leaders who understand ESG and lead with integrity are more resilient.
To support those in need of help during these challenging times, Competent Boards will donate 5% of all Certificate Program sales to Doctors Without Borders or allow you to donate the 5% saved to someone in need.
Members of the Canadian Chamber get a 5% discount on registration fees. Click here to learn more.
Esso/Mobil is working with its station owners and operators to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Members of the Canadian Chamber get 3.5 cents off per litre at all Esso and Mobil branded stations in Canada and the U.S. Click here to learn more.
Through its Small Business Grants Program, Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to help small businesses affected by COVID-19.
Up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in more than 30 countries where Facebook operates will be able to receive the grant.
Click here for more information.
As an additional resource, you can visit Facebook’s Business Resource Hub.
Google is donating $800+ million globally in ad grants to support small- and medium-sized businesses, health organizations, government and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic.
As part of this commitment, Google is providing $340 million in Google Ads credits available to all small businesses, including Canadian small businesses, with active accounts over the past year. These credits can be used towards future ad spends, until the end of 2020 across Google Ads platforms.
Click here for more information.
As an additional resource, you can visit the Google for Small Business site.
Johnson Insurance is pleased to announce updates to its Customer Care Program in response to COVID-19. Click here to learn more about how Johnson Insurance is helping customers navigate the crisis.
OMX is helping companies find new suppliers as they re-tool their manufacturing facilities to support COVID-19 initiatives. Manufacturers can use the OMX platform to post RFPs and connect with suppliers who can support their new COVID-19 products.
Members of the Canadian Chamber get a 10% discount on their OMX subscription. Click here to learn more.
Pragmatic Conferencing is currently offering audio customers its Unified Meeting service at no extra cost and is also offering its services free of charge to senior care facilities. Unified Meeting is integrated with Pragmatic’s audio service so that you can give presentations, annotate live documents and meet face-to-face over video for up to 16 participants. You can also manage calls, including creating breakout rooms, locking calls, muting participants and more. Regular audio rates apply.
Members of the Canadian Chamber save 30% on conference and video calls with Pragmatic. Click here to learn more.
Rogers – Limited Time Offer
From now until June 30, 2020, you can access Microsoft Teams completely free for a six-month period and get 50% off Rogers Unison for a three-month period. Terms and conditions apply. Click here to get started.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, TELUS Health is leveraging the full capability of its innovative technology to be at the forefront of helping Canadians stay healthy and safe.
The Canadian Chamber has partnered with TELUS Health to make sure you are able to support your employees, take care of their health and enable your business to be the most productive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Akira by TELUS Health provides 24/7 direct access to medical consultations through secure text and video chat. You can ask questions, get treated, renew prescriptions and get referrals.
As an exclusive offer to members of the Canadian Chamber, when you sign up for Akira by TELUS Health, you will also get complimentary in-person service by the Medisys Health Group, which includes preventative health assessments for your employees, occupational health and onsite fitness programs.
Click here for more information.
Additional Financial Assistance
Canada Child Benefit
Enhancements to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will see recipients receive $300 more per child with their regular May CCB payment. If you have previously applied for the CCB, you do not need to re-apply.
For more information on the Canada Child Benefit, such as how to apply and eligibility requirements, go to Canada Child Benefit or call 1-800-387-1193.
Emergency Community Support Fund
The Government of Canada is spending $350 million through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need. The funding will flow through national organizations that have the ability to get funds quickly to local organizations that serve vulnerable populations.
It will support a variety of activities, such as:
- increasing volunteer-based home deliveries of groceries and medications
- providing transportation services, like accompanying or driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments
- scaling up help lines that provide information and support
- helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits
- providing training, supplies, and other required supports to volunteers so they can continue to make their invaluable contributions to the COVID-19 response
- replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through phone calls, texts, teleconferences, or the Internet
Find more information on how and when to apply:
12 million low- and modest-income families will receive $5.5 billion through a one-time GST credit. This will mean payments of roughly $400 for an individual and $600 for couples.
There is no need to apply for this payment. If you are eligible, you will get it automatically.
Deferred repayments of student loans
Deferral of repayments for the Canada Student Loans programs until September 30, 2020, with no accrual of interest. These measures will become effective March 30, 2020 and will be automatic.
Resources for Indigenous Communities
Funding for small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses and financial institutions
On March 18, the federal government provided up to $306.8 million in funding to help small- and medium-sized Indigenous businesses, and to support Aboriginal Financial Institutions that offer financing to these businesses.
The funding will allow for short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis businesses.
The program will be provided through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, and administered by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association and the Métis capital corporations in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada.
The funding will allow for interest-free loans, as well as non-repayable contributions, to help Indigenous businesses unable to access the government’s existing COVID-19 support measures. Additional funding will help Aboriginal Financial Institutions cover operational expenses, and help the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association increase its operational capacity.
On May 21, the government announced an additional $75 million in funding for Indigenous organizations providing services to Indigenous peoples in urban centres and off reserve. This additional funding will support more community-based projects that address the critical needs of Indigenous populations during this crisis, including food security, mental health support services, and sanitation and protective equipment. It could also help with other needs, such as support for Elders, transportation, and educational materials for Indigenous children and youth.
Indigenous Services Canada: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities
Indigenous Services Canada: Addressing urgent needs in Indigenous communities related to COVID-19
Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business: COVID-19: Updates, information, and resources
Provincial and Territorial Resources
Government of Manitoba: Business Continuity Planning for Disease Outbreak
Government of Manitoba: Information for Workplaces and Employees
Manitoba Chamber of Commerce: Pandemic preparedness Toolkit for Manitoba Businesses
Manitoba Chamber of Commerce: Tools and Resources for Businesses
Government of New Brunswick: COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses
Newfoundland and Labrador
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador: Supports for Residents, Families and Businesses
Government of Northwest Territories: COVID-19 Information for Businesses, Tourists and Program Applicants
Government of Northwest Territories: Resources for Businesses
Northwest Territories Chamber of Commerce: COVID-19 Resources
Government of Nunavut: Small Business Support Program
Government of Ontario: Support for People and Businesses to Improve Cash Flow
Government of Ontario: Stop the Spread: Business Information Line
Government of Ontario: Interest and Penalty Relief for Businesses
Ontario Chamber of Commerce: COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for Ontario Businesses
Ontario Chamber of Commerce: Business and Employee Supports
City of Toronto: Economic Support & Recovery for Businesses
City of Toronto and Toronto Region Board of Trade: Support for Business
Prince Edward Island
Government of PEI: COVID-19: Support for Businesses
Government of Quebec: Concerted Temporary Action Program for Businesses
Government of Quebec: Flexibility Measures for Individuals and Businesses
City of Montreal: Support Measures for Montreal Businesses
Government of Canada
Health Canada: Overview: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Health Canada: False and Misleading Claims
Health Canada: Health Product Complaints
Finance Canada: Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for businesses
Business and Industry: Call to action: Canadian manufacturers needed to help combat COVID-19
Innovation, Science and Economic Development: Get the Canada Business app
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: Advance Payments Program
“We’re partnering with Canadian industry and business so we can act fast to ensure our health care providers have the products and supplies they need to help Canadians. Together, we are mobilizing all of Canada to fight the spread of the virus.”Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
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